Everywhere you look, media is changing. Cheddar is partnering with WeWork to create satellite news stations in WeWork locations. Bloomberg announced the first 24/7 digital network on Twitter. That premieres next month. 

As media changes advertising must as well. If thirty and sixty second commercials become less frequent, which they will, this will change the very way we look to reach customers. The overt product appeal will go away.

Social media has already forced brands to adapt. If you no longer control the message, if the audience now controls the narrative then your appeal has to be more than just the product. 

It has to be something greater, something that creates bonds, something that retains customers and turns them in to advocates. 

1. Identify your audience and what they need.

You can call this relationship-based selling, you can call this a lot of things. There are far too many buzz words in marketing. But the basic principal is simple. If you provide value to someone they will remember you and in a positive way. If they have a positive feeling about you and are presented with a choice between you and your competitor, they will choose you. 

2. Connect with businesses that can provide advice in that space.

What do printers and cupcakes have in common? Tons, actually. 

"At Canon, we firmly believe that our customers are the centerpiece of our company and we strive to help them work faster and smarter while streamlining their workflow. As part of the commitment to entrepreneurs and small businesses owners, Canon has provided a bevy of tips and tricks to enhance business productivity," says Michael Duffett, VP of ITCG Printer Marketing at Canon.

"We are happy to partner with Wicked Good Cupcakes so they can share the lessons they have learned on what has made them successful along their business journey." 

That partnership includes Facebook live events where small business owners get their questions answered directly by proven entrepreneurs.

Canon knows that a lot of their customers are small business owners. They aren't selling entrepreneurship, they're selling printers but they knows that insight is important to their audience. They create value for their audience by giving them recognizable advice. Wicked Good Cupcakes gets unconventional exposure so they can drive more brand awareness and business. 

When it works best it's a continuously running cycle of delivering on what each party needs rather than what they are selling. It's not always perfect but value can work. 

3. Create a forum in which your customers and your partner both get value.

This is especially true for large companies. While divisions may not have a ton of budget to devote to advertising what they do have is access. In fact, the larger a brand is the less they should theoretically have to pay for advertising because of the access they could create for an agency looking to work with them. Not all value is monetary. 

For example, let's say you're an entrepreneur with a service that a big brand needs. They could pay you a small amount. That's great. And you may have to take that because--like most startups--you need a few big wins early on to get off the ground. 

But if you're financially stable and have enough time to be patient, pursue access rather than money from a big client. 

That may sound crazy but give it deeper thought. How long will it take you on your own to get 10 big clients? Now, how long would it take a big company to help you land those same clients. It's much shorter. That's of value to you. And it's also of value to them because they can potentially save on services. 

No, that's not a Ponzi scheme. Although I get the similarity. But speed is important in business. Create a balance of clients that pay and also those that can help you accelerate your growth. 

Repeat this process to get the most out of your growing partnerships.

Published on: Nov 22, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.